The Department of Biotechnology (DBT) and the Wellcome Trust will establish a joint funding initiative entitled “R&D for Affordable Healthcare in India”. In an effort to encourage scientists of Indian origin working abroad to return to India, the Department of Biotechnology has partnered with the Wellcome Trust, UK to launch a fellowship programme on biomedical research at the post-doctoral level. Each partner has committed £ 8 million per year, for a period of five years. The programme is being delivered through a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), a public charitable trust registered as ‘The Wellcome Trust/DBT India Alliance’ with its office at Hyderabad.
The Wellcome Trust/DBT India Alliance runs four fellowship schemes: Early Career (for newly qualified Ph.Ds), Intermediate (for those with 4 - 7 years post-Ph.D research experience) and Senior (for those with 7 - 12 years post-Ph.D research experience). This year onward a new fellowship – The “Margdarshi Fellowship” has been initiated for scientific leaders who already head a research laboratory, and wish to relocate from their current institution (within India or overseas) to a non-profit research institution in India. So far 52 fellowships have been awarded.
Talking to media after meeting with Mr. David Willetts, Minister for State for Universities Science, United Kingdom, Sir Adrian Smith, Director General, knowledge & Innovation and Sir Richard Stagg, British High Commissioner to India, Dr. Ashwani Kumar, Minister of State for Planning, Science and Technology and Earth Sciences said, each country will fund about 50 million pounds for various S&T projects.
The researchers from public and private sectors largely working in India will be brought together to develop innovative medical products that will reach the greatest number of beneficiaries without compromising on quality.
The objective of the joint venture is to support translational and innovative research projects leading to development of safe and effective healthcare products such as drugs, vaccines, stem cells and regenerative medicine products, biofortified products for nutrition, diagnostics, devices and implants, bioequipment products, and e-health for addressing unmet medical needs in India.
The unique features of the scheme include access to networks of international experts and overseas scientists, specifically aiming at “Affordable Healthcare”; boost to innovation in both academic and commercial research laboratories across India; and support to “applied” or “translational” R&D projects leading to product development.